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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  April 12, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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figure? what do you think? >> she's not a serious national figure. obviously chris wallace figured that out. the question is why sarah palin parading around the country with her on the bachmann/palin overdrive tour? it's like a bad rock band. she makes this stuff up. she knows it's outrageous. to chris wallace's credit he did call her on it and couldn't take it anymore at some point. she does this every single day, ed. most people don't call her on it. the republicans stand up and cheer at these rallies. thank god there was a journalist -- i know it was on a network you don't always agree with, but thank god chris wallace pointed it out because most republicans don't do that. >> this is up one of the reasons they were able to win the debate when it comes to health care because they spew stuff out there and know so much of it, we don't have enough air time to correct it. what do you make of sarah palin? she got 330 votes, straw poll
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down there at their southern republican leadership conference. was that a good showing or a not a good showing considering how much publicity she's gotten? >> i think it wasn't a good showing for her. imagine if you're newt gingrich who is a really thoughtful, smart guy, i don't agree with him on very much, but he's very, very smart. to get beat in a presidential straw poll by sarah palin, oh my god that had to hurt. >> it was gingrich by one, but not by much. it shouldn't even be in the neighborhood. >> in the recount, ed. >> gingrich, you know, the way he presents himself, he is the party higher up and no one can match his intelligence. that's how he comes off to me, anyway. i'm surprised it was the vote the way it was. >> when you think about sarah palin who seems to be trying out for a television talk show, no disrespect, ed, rather than running for president and a guy like newt gingrich who love him or hate him he comes up with a lot of ideas. he's a thoughtful kind of guy to be tied or to win by one vote.
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>> steve mcmahon, got to run. great to have you with us. text survey question tonight, does the federal government have a moral obligation to support unemployed? 90% said yes, 10% said no. we're back tomorrow night with "the ed show." "hardball" with chris matthews is next. the teed off party. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, who is in charge? are we witnessing a hostile take over of the gop? mitt romney managed to win this weekend's republican straw vote by just one vote over the man who essentially inspired the tea party movement, ron paul. and right behind paul was that other tea party lucky charm, sarah palin. can the republicans be a party of opposition and still nominate a problem solving mainstreamer like romney? will they?
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also, supreme court sweepstake. should president obama break with the recent tradition of nominating judges and go with politician, someone with real-life experience? we'll look at the president's short list and my short list which i have to tell you all people who have been elected to something. plus, eating up the whoppers. the government is creating death panels, there were no terror attacks under president bush, no racial criticism for those who voted for health care. it's bad enough this nonsense is repeated what's more troubling is millions of americans eat it up. we'll get into the world that never wonders but just eats the stuff up. in case you missed it tina fey is back as sarah palin. we have her in the "sideshow." speaking of palin, let me finish tonight by commenting on the cover story of this week's "national journal" that makes the case sarah palin may not know much but at least knows what she wants to say. let's start with the gop.
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"newsweek's" howard fineman is an msnbc political analyst who spent the weekend in new orleans covering the conference and eugene robinson, pulitzer prize winning columnist for "washington post." gentlemen, the republican party, i'm amazed by this party. it's almost a wonderful sort of young americans for freedom now. young people having fun. no grown-ups around. no boring people like mitch mcconnell or john boehner. no elected officials. just fun people having fun. >> first of all it was new orleans. >> right wingers. >> somebody had to go there but it was difficult. i had to go. i had to go. this is a generation ago. literally so. kids who liked william f. buckley and read the "national review" down in the south, when the white voters, conservative white voters were in the democratic party, they moved on mass and one of the great
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political migrations and are now the establishment and in a way they are the core -- >> i am stunned that ron paul being bashed around. let's look now. you are looking at the washington convention center in washington, d.c., as the president welcomes heads of the delegations to the nuclear securities summit. there he is. the question is, who is leading? ron paul was bashed apart. remember how rudy giuliani would smack him down when he said something about 9/11 last time around? he's tied with mitt romney. >> the grassroots of the republican party has moved in ron paul's direction since the last election. they view obama as mr. big government or worse and so, therefore, ron paul's anti-government party of no philosophy fits the mood at the grassroots of the republican party right now. it really does. >> gene, it's amazing the party is not party of the elected capitol hill boring crowd. >> this must be terrifying to the capitol hill boring crowd and to establishment candidates like mitt romney who thought it was all teed up for him the next
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time and you have this base that has drunk an awful lot of the kool-aid. basically. >> they're going to have a lot of fun this november because it's going to be about watching concession speeches from the democrats they manage to beat, right? that's fun. that's the beheadings in the french revolution. they'll watch that. at some point they have to pick a leader and i have a sense they don't have a leader. i don't think sarah palin is their real leader. i think they like the idea of the libertarian movement, no government, no grown-ups around. lot of freedom. they don't think she's president. >> first of all, in talking to delegates there and especially the women conservative women really idolize sarah palin. a lot of them told me they don't really want her to be the nominee if she runs because they're afraid the election will be about sarah palin and not what they think it should be about which is barack obama. >> that's their winner. >> it would be about sarah palin. >> that's the unifying figure. >> that's what the delegates -- these people are very -- >> they are united about
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negative. >> yeah. >> they don't have a leader. >> that's what they are saying. i think strategically they prefer a bland negative than a negative who becomes the whole story of the campaign which is what sarah palin would become. >> what are sarah palin's negatives? >> they think to quote one of them that i talked to a woman from texas, she said the liberal media will annihilate sarah palin and the election will be about sarah palin and not about barack obama. >> howard, you were there. if you really believe in ron paul or in sarah palin, why would you trust mitt romney? why would you trust governor pawlenty? >> these are government guys. you can't keep saying what happens in massachusetts stays in massachusetts. he was pro-choice in massachusetts for abortion rights. he was for health care system in massachusetts which i was just reading today was able to insure all about 100,000 people. 500,000 more people have insurance up there. 600,000 didn't have it. 500,000 do have it.
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he's done an incredible job of insuring that state. how can he now call it socialism? >> you called him a problem solving mainstreamer. >> right. >> that's fighting words. those are fighting words. >> here's a guy that may thread the needle. watch this guy. a tough customer. i get the feeling this is an office holder at the highest level who is able to turn on the troops, excite them. here is mike pence of indiana. u.s. congressman in the leadership turning them on, let's listen, down in new orleans. >> democrats may have had their way on a third sunday in march but the american people are going to have their say on the first tuesday in november. the president actually said to advocates of repeal, go for it. well, mr. president, count on it. >> was that a george w. impression or what? >> he's pretty good. >> that's understated, but they love it.
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>> but to hear that speech, i thought it was very strong. >> they were all performing well. rick perry, the governor of texas, not known as a great speech giver. in front of this crowd it was all like call and response. they were all jacked up. the politicians were to speak to this crowd with the with the anti-government message. >> kid he try the secessionist stuff? >> sort of. he said there's limited government. there's only a few things the government should do and send the rest back to washington and leave texas alone. all that stuff. all that stuff. >> it's not too early to look at who's winning. let's look at the straw vote in the southern republican leadership conference. here is mitt romney in the lead with our strong organization but basically tying ron paul, the guy who is just the little engine that could. sarah palin behind him. it's like watching the masters. isn't it? sarah palin. there's newt gingrich at 18. way back in the pack is mike huckabee. fox news hasn't been that good for him and then pawlenty can't get out of the basement. >> pawlenty can't get out of the basement. huckabee needs a better time slot apparently.
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like saturday night. it's not working. >> i'm going back to the central -- tid they like you down there, howard? did they see you as the lenemy? or treat you as an independent? >> the reporters were in the back at the tables in the back. i made it my business to get up and stay away from those tables and wander the crowd. >> did you turn your back on the media and separate yourself? >> when necessary, yes. >> let me ask you the central question, can a party based upon the teed off party, not the tea party, based on anger and negativity which that woman was kind to give you that interview, say we rather run against -- say we're going to burn down the democratic house and enjoy the concession speeches and beat the hell out of them. >> that may work in the midterms.
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if you look at the gallup polls republican voters are really enthusiastic. there's a 20-point enthusiasm gap on are you likely to vote. >> they want to vote to vote against. >> the republicans have a 20-point edge in enthusiasm for definitely voting in the fall and that's because of their anti-obama, anti-government, anti-health care, anti-stimulus, anti-everything rhetoric. i don't think it works in a presidential election. presidential election is a different kind of thing. >> this year looks like they will knock off the speaker and even win the senate if this rage continues. this teed off party. >> i think they have a good shot at the house. i don't think that's written in stone yet. it's difficult for them to get the senate because of the way the races are. >> they have to win ten states. it seems to me like they have -- i don't see a sympathy party. we have the tea party but not much sympathy party to use the phrase tea and sympathy. where is this movement for obama out there? where are these meetings? where are these rallies? where is this event going on of active democratic party politics this year? is there any locust for this? do you see it anywhere?
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>> i don't see it. at least i -- obviously i wasn't going to see it in new orleans this weekend because all the republicans are there. if you talk to democrats around the country and you go to places where democrats should be enthusiastic, they are muted. they still very much like obama. they want him to succeed. i think they are muted right now. a lot of them are not that enthusiastic about that. >> i think give them time. >> they are less muted than they were before. >> okay. here's my concern of what we might see here. what we might see is so much anger this time around that democrats chances of winning the states they won last time, surprise states, north carolina, virginia, how did they do in florida eventually? three states. they have a southern strategy. i was talking to dan rather this weekend. he thinks there's a southern strategy afoot in the republican party. they're going to begin their campaign for 2012 by locking up the solid south again on the right. >> first thing declare confederate heritage month.
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>> don't mention slavery when do you it. >> all part of this is effort to just solidify the south as your beginning block to bring down obama. take away florida. take away north carolina. take away virginia. move north. >> uh-huh. >> that's been the republican strategy for a generation. it began with this group, by the way, that first met in 1969. the southern republican leadership conference. that's really where it began with a guy named clark read, a mississippian who is still there and very enthusiastic, by the way, about the republicans' chances this year. >> he's still there? >> very much so. >> a young party. they seem to be the heart of the republican party right now. you throw in ron paul and the what do you call them, not the secessionists -- but the libertari libertarians. thank you for joining us. good reporting down there. i want to know did they like you? >> i don't know, chris. i don't factor that in.
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just so they don't throw me out. >> it's not the love boat. >> it's not. >> thank you, howard fineman. thank you, gene robinson. coming up, a battle is brew the new opening of course. ing over the supreme court. john paul stevens leaving. are republicans forming for a fight? o they want a filibuster? harry reid is on track to set a new record, by way. don't miss it. he's going to beat, perhaps another filibuster. est breeze harbors immense power. the tallest buildings leave the lightest footprints. a fifty-ton train makes barely a mark on the environment. and a country facing climate change finds climate solutions. somewhere in america, we've already answered some of the nation's toughest questions. and the over sixty thousand people of siemens are ready to do it again. siemens. answers.
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welcome back to "hardball." senate republicans are gearing up for a showdown over president obama's supreme court pick which is coming. should he go against convention the president and nominate a politician with real-world experience? he talks about it. will he do it? professor jonathan turley. i'm an amateur. not a lawyer. mention that occasionally. i have an interest in the supreme court because it makes huge decisions in our life more than congress. which drives conservatives especially crazy. i'm going to turn this over to you, the thoughts. is it possible -- is it good that the president look beyond the usual list of appellate judges and pick somebody like oh, like janet napolitano, like jennifer granholm, like hillary clinton? they say they won't pick clinton today but someone like that, a politician? >> there is some track record for that you have earl warren who proved to be a brilliant chief justice. he was able to craft a sweeping decisions during his time. he was not particularly an
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intellectual leader in that sense but he was a great leader of the court. you also had people like hugo black who would be listed by anyone as one of the top justices of all time. he was a senator, just as warren was a governor. >> tennessee, right? >> i believe so, yeah. he was fantastic. he was brilliant. you do have a track record for that. the question, however, is there anything in the history of these potential nominees that would indicate they would have the intellectual depth to help push the court? warren was chief justice. that gives you control. with associate justice you look for someone who can make a contribution beyond collegiality to moving the court intellectually. >> i look at big cases coming down the road. the ted olson case. the same-sex challenge to the prop 8 in california coming down the road. i commented on this friday night. the idea that someone could lead five judges and take anthony kennedy and have them join a liberal to centrist coalition
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and make a major ruling like that. which of the nominees do you think could do that? be a leader not just of four liberals but a leader of five judges? >> that's a very good question. i think diane wood. of the seventh circuit. >> tell us about her. how could she lead? >> she's breezingly bright. she's very, very smart. she's respected by judges on both sides of the political spectrum. and she does have that ability. i have to say even though kagan is not popular, she has proven that she's a significant leader. at harvard law school she combined a faractured faculty. with her, however, she's viewed as embracing many of the bush policies. some of the key cases where stevens is the fifth vote could flip with kagan and that has civil libertarians concerned. >> like what, where could it go to the right? >> you have a number of questions on the tribunal's
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decision in hamden in 2006. you have razul in 2004. stevens played a very critical role. kagan is viewed by suspicion -- >> what happened to liberal judges? i grew up with them. you and i grew up with them. i grew up with earl warren and that court was pretty liberal. it did things like brown. you couldn't have separate but equal education. gideon, you had a right to public counts. you had right to a lawyer. loving, you could not love interracial marriage. miran miranda, you couldn't have -- these things have rocked our society for 50 years, all liberal landmark decisions yet recently you haven't seen that kind -- except now corporations can give money to campaigns. not exactly a liberal decision. are we ever going to have a liberal court again that does progressive things? >> not the way the democrats are doing. >> why don't they do that? somebody said, stevens said the other day, every judge that's been picked to replace any judge in the last 30 years has been more conservative than the judge leaving. >> i think that's true.
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steven, one of the reasons it's a sad departure for stevens, there's the greatest generation of the court you just described. like the world war ii veterans, he was part of that. served with giants. the question for liberals as they look back with sadness of where did that time go? the democrats simply are not selecting people that can move that intellectual ball. they are not selecting people who can be the types of leaders that see a legal horizon we may not see as a citizenry. we're just not getting that. the confirmation process makes it very difficult to select, it makes it very difficult to confirm if you ever had an interesting thought in your life. >> i'm trying to have an interesting thought. liberty, pursuit of happiness, words that we find in our founding documents or in the 14th amendment. i wonder when this court will use those words to take us to guaranteeing the right to a same-sex marriage, to choosing your marital partner, period. you have a right to choose your
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marital partner under our constitution. do you think there's a chance that could happen? the supreme court could rule? >> there's a chance but it depends a lot on these nominees. we had a name come out today. judge thomas in montana. he has a strong opinion involving t-shirts where he joined a decision saying the school could prohibit the wearing of an anti-homosexual t-shirt. it's a very interesting movement. it could also prove to be a lightning rod for him. there are liberals on this list. liberals and civil libertarians are cautious. there was lack of support for sonia sotomayor because she did not have a consistently liberal voting -- >> yeah. >> the question is is obama willing to go to the mat to replace a liberal icon with a true liberal? there is a certain of degree bordering on mistrust in the liberal community. >> what about elana kagan. the one everyone says is the safest bet for him? she did stand up against the rotc coming to -- i don't agree.
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the military should be able to recruit. up to students how they respond to the recruitment and let them make the choice. she said as long as army had don't ask/don't tell, she wasn't going to let them recruit up in cambridge. that's going to make a lot of noise. >> it is. she's going to get a lot of opposition from that side. also on the left, she has viewed, as i mentioned a real threat in terms of civil liberties opinion. she could flip the court. diane woods is more liberal and she could very well keep the position of john paul stevens. >> a politician, jennifer granholm, got re-elected as governor of michigan. huge state. middle of the country. yale law, she has a good degree. first-rate degree. i number-one degree you could have. is she a possible? is janet nepapolitano possible? >> they are possible because they are politically possible. the question is why? >> he wants someone with experience in executing the law. dealing across the aisle with republicans and democrats, someone who's used to being a
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grown-up, if you will, not a theoretician or academic. someone who really knows what it's like to be an executive and have to carry out the law. >> i have to tell you, i think that's been the criteria for the democrats and that's why they haven't seen the greatest generation. they keep on selecting people with resumes to say, look at the success she's had as a senator, look at the success she's had as a cabinet member. they don't translate well as far as being a justice. if you want to transfer -- >> give me a name. >> i would take harold koh. he could walk down the hall. >> legal adviser of the state department. why would he be a great leader on the court? >> he's considered of the quality of lewis. he's one of the great, great academics of the world. he helped articulate human rights law. >> one of the top five academic lawyers. >> i think most people put him in that group. now, he is very strong against torture. he's very strong on some pubush policies. that might prove a negative
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strangely enough but -- >> maybe it's time for the president to unite the left again and get the people on his side by picking someone who believes torture is wrong and who is israeli willing to take a ramrod position out there, saying i'm going to leave the court against stuff that's unconstitutional. maybe that would excite the left and bring it together with the center. i think torture does unite the center and the left. >> i think it does. if the president fights the way he did on health care -- >> will jonathan turley be behind it? will you support this man when he tries to do greatness? jonathan turley of george washington university. up next, clips from the newly launched sarah palin network. well, it's not a real network, it's better than that. it's in the "sideshow." the amount of technology in today's cars is like something out of a spaceship. which is why, mechanics nowadays are more like rocket scientists. they have to be. the technicians at ford and lincoln mercury dealerships are highly trained. they really do know their stuff.
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welcome back to "hardball" and to the "sideshow." first up, baking alaska. this weekend tina fey returned her wondrous parody of sarah palin on "saturday night live," a sendup that's downright erie. here's the ex-governor of alaska debuting her own tv channel. the sarah palin network. >> if you like fun, you're just going to love our afternoon block of game shows.
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at 2:00 p.m., it's tea party wheel of fortune. and at 2:30, catch me in are you smarter than a half-term governor? i think you'll be surprised by the answer. i know i was. and at 4:00, don't miss elites. the show that takes c-span footage of a bunch of smarty pants professors talking about who knows what and re-dubs it with the teacher's voice from charlie brown. do you hate gotcha journalism? get ready for hey journalist, i gotcha, where i reedit my interviews with journalists to make them look like the ones who were woefully unprepared. so, katie, what newspapers do you read? it's an easy question, katie.
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well, better luck next time. gotcha. >> i'm afraid this attempt to relaunch palin isn't just a joke. anyway, next, the power of prayer. new jersey governor is at odds with the teacher's union over plans to cut education funding. prompted association leaders last week to issue this memo containing a mock prayer. here it is. their prayer. "dear lord this year you have taken away my favorite actor, patrick swayze, favorite actress, farrah fawcett, favorite singer, michael jackson and favorite salesman billy mays. i wanted to let you know chris christie is my favorite governor." which of course could be interpreted as a death wish. he defended the memo saying it was a joke not intended to be made public. governor cristie isn't happy.
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when you send something to 17,000 people you're making it public. finally, out of proportion. the white house press corps was left behind when the president left to attend his daughter's soccer game in northwest washington. the associated press wrote, "president obama quietly breached years of protocol an saturday morning in leaving the white house without the press. who generally follow the president wherever he goes." my take, no harm, no foul. now for "the number." it shows the party of tea parties over regular republicans. florida governor charlie crist announced $1. 1 million this quarter to run for the president. sounds like a lot until you consider marco rubio has raised $3.6 million in the same quarter which means the real "big number" is, and it's a big one, $2.5 million, that's how much less crist, who's been known for his money-raising prowess, things go from bad to worse for florida's governor. he's trailing rubio this quarter
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by $2.5 million in fund-raising. that's tonight's "big number" and tells you which way things are going in the republican party. from health care reform to terrorism, climate change, republicans let loose with whoppers. we're going to get into the opposition's trouble with the truth next. starting today catch all msnbc programs including "hardball" simulcast live. you can catch us in the car. you're watching "hardball" only only msnbc. like janice. uh-huh. yeah. fashion deficient. and tom... copy incapable. it's open kimono time. looking good, dan. oh, we want to make sure all our ducks in a row. yeah. volume control syndrome. but we focus on the talent and skill that each person... brings to the team. i mean, no one's really concerned about labels. not even mine. labels get in the way. disabilities rarely do. visit thinkbeyondthelabel.com to evolve your work force.
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i'm milissa rehberger. here's what's happening. senate democrats have won an initial victory in their fight to extend unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands of jobless americans. a 60% to 34% tonight killed a gop filibuster aimed at keeping
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measure from moving forward. the governor of virginia restored $750,000 to the state budget to pay for mine safety inspections. that funding, casualty and belt tightening until last week's deadly accident in neighboring west virginia. america's budget deficit declined in march after the white house lowered projected cost of bailing out nation's banks by $115 billion. on wall street investors cheered a round number milestone as the dow closed above 11,000 for the first time since september of 2008. pittsburgh steelers quarterback ben roethlisberger will not face sexual assault charges after his accuser said she didn't want to proceed with the process kus. conan o'brien has signed on to do a talk show on tbs. back to "hardball."
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this will be wild. welcome back to "hardball." it sounds like politicians and big-name republicans in particular are getting away with major whoppers. climate change deniers and birthers have found friends on capitol hill and in state capitols across the country. what's the fish story thing going on around the country? make up a big story and stick with it and get away with anything. msnbc political analyst richard wolffe is author of "renegade." gentlemen, i want to start with one of the big whoppers. this is from a man everyone has respected over the years. the number one republican, the candidate for president last time around. last week john mccain told "newsweek" magazine in all seriousness, "i never considered myself a maverick." that's in print. he hasn't denied it. here's some of the tape that suggests otherwise. let's listen. this is the big whopper. >> what maverick really means, what this team of maverick really means is we understand who we work for.
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when two mavericks join up, we don't agree on everything but that's a lot of fun. you got a team of mavericks. a team of mavericks. send a team of mavericks. i've been called a maverick. maverick. maverick. maverick. maverick. as my old friend and greenroom pal chris matthews, he used to like me but he found somebody new. somebody who opened his eyes. we have talked about it. i told him, maverick i can do. messiah is above my pay grade. >> maverick i can do. gentlemen, he's even got a book called "the education of a maverick." now he's out saying i've never considered myself a maverick. this may be the first of many examples of republicans -- the party is using a lot of these. rich richard wolffe, doesn't it matter now to be completely wrong? is it okay to make i've never been a maverick. say it. your people are going to be with you no matter what they say. >> they are playing to this
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really extremist vocal base. the technology is there. on the other hand, the technology also allows us to play the tape over and over again. >> and we will. >> you are caught by it but you are seduced by it. you know, the technology -- >> what's a person out in arizona right now who is a middle to right wing republican who thinks mccain is a straight shooter, right, and they watch us do this right now. >> the brand maverick brand has been deflated somewhat. >> and david, what does a true believer think when they hear that their messiah, i'm sorry, in this case maverick, tells them something that's just such a whopper of a fish story? i never considered myself a maverick. >> i think the brand is bankrupt. he's either absurd or has amnesia. it shows he's nothing more than a desperate politician who will say whatever pops into his head at the moment for political gain. it's rather sad. >> here's rudy giuliani on "good morning america" in january after the attempted christmas
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plane bombing in detroit. let's listen to another whopper. >> what he should be doing is following the right things that bush did, one of the right things he did was treat us as a war on terror. we've had no domestic attacks under bush. we had one under obama. >> under bush we had 9/11. the worst attack in our country in its history on its homeland. under obama we had an attempt by a guy on an airplane who got caught doing it. david corn, how could you say we were never struck under bush? how does somebody say something like that who's a new york mayor? >> you can't. political language is designed to make lies sound like truth and murder respectable. as long as there's no payback other than being poked fun at by chris matthews, john mccain and rudy giuliani and sarah palin will keep saying these things. if voters don't care about some fundamentals like getting it right, then there is a gain for them to say things that aren't true because it sounds good. >> you guys keep bringing up magic names.
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sarah palin talking again this week about death panels. all they had was a provision, one congressman suggested, which is you can get payment if you want to get counseling on issues like deciding what you're going to do at the end of your life and what treatment you want at the end to keep you alive. it happens all the time. it's not a death panel. she just made that up. >> right. and this stuff -- >> living wills. things like that. >> death panels get repeated over and over. we're seeing same thing again about these 16,000 irs agents. it has gone through -- >> what's that whopper? tell me the whopper. >> the idea is the irs is hiring these thousands of people to enforce the mandate but the irs' responsibility is to put out tax credits, not to collect revenue. this is one of the big government takeover. >> here's the governor of texas. guys, i got to keep moving. this doesn't end. here's rick perry last april talking to a tea party crowd in
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austin, which i though was a smart town, i thought about how texas has the right to secede under the union. >> when we came in the union in 1845, one of the issues is we would be able to leave if we decided to do that. my hope is that america and washington in particular pays attention. we got a great union. there's absolutely no reason to dissolve it but if washington continues to thumb their nose at the american people, you know, who knows what may come out of that. >> that's the comment of a mad man. i mean, david corn, there's never been a provision in any state's entry into the union could split when you felt like it. that's what the civil war was. texas could become a number of states, six i believe at the time it chose to do so and wanted more senators, but never leave the union. how did he make that up and get away with it? >> chris, it's not just a matter
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of getting things wrong. there's an intent here. it's demagoguery. it's saying things to whip up your base, your followers to gain political advantage. we saw back in the 2000s, in the early part of the decade a whole campaign on the bush administration. you know better than anyone else, to use assertions that weren't true to get the country into war. >> we know all about that. >> over and over again. >> okay. now for a refreshing change of tone. here's tom coburn who i respect tremendously for what he's done. here's senator tom coburn of oklahoma talking with a woman at a taown hall meeting in oklahom city on march 21st, not too long ago. let's listen to this departure. here it is. let's listen. >> if they can put us in prison, take away our prison, take away our liberty, are they not trampling on our fifth amendment rights by putting it under the irs? because the irs thinks you're guilty until proven innocent. >> i want everybody else to get to answer a question -- ask a question.
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so let me -- the intention is not to put anyone in jail. that puts for good tv news on fox. that isn't the intention. there is the intention to use the internal revenue service to hold you accountable and you have to prove that you have bought health insurance. i want to tell you, i do a lot of reading every day, and i'm disturbed that we get things like what this lady said and others have said on other issues that are so disconnected to what i know to be the facts and that comes from somebody that has an agenda that's other than the best interest of our country. >> richard? >> full credit to tom coburn. >> needs a profile encouragement award with that one. >> richard shelby, town hall meeting last year, someone says the president isn't born in america. he goes, they say he's born in hawaii but i haven't seen the birth certificate. when you're in these town hall meetings it isn't just about
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pandering. it's about setting the record straight and being a political leader. i think tom coburn takes the award. he did it. it's about being true to principles. he showed he is. others have not been that honorable. >> it seems you have to beat up people to admit the truth. they keep playing these games. they waffle. they pander. they let the person believe the worst. they're standing in there. they're getting paid by the public to tell them what's going on and they let the dishonesty feed on itself. they keep it going. david, your thoughts. don't they have some responsibility to the court of public opinion to tell them what they know? >> you think they would. you think everybody does. don't have as much i don't think that glenn beck has as much an obligation to tell the truth as an elected member of our legislature. anyone who is elected to office who wants to be a true leader has to be able to make their case for a conservative, liberal policies, whatever they want on merits. it's very -- why do people lie? because it gives them the upper hand in a political debate. it's harder to win a debate against somebody who is lying. that's why they do it.
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>> the other problem is there's no penalty box. thank you, david corn, thank you, richard wolffe. up next, the president is hosting a nuclear summit with one thing in mind, keeping nuclear arms away from bad people who are dangerous. will he succeed? this could be the most important topic of our time. in one minute, senator scott brown says no to sarah palin. but the most important is the honor of being in your garage. if you're shopping for a new car, we invite you to put us to the test. and may the best car win.
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the single biggest threat to u.s. security both short term, medium term, and long term would be the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon. >> wow. welcome back to "hardball." that's president obama on the seriousness of the threat we face in this world from nuclear weapons. and to lesson the threat he has 47 leaders in washington as we speak for a nuclear summit that started today. joe cirincione is president of the ploughshares fund and member of the council on foreign relations. thank you very much, sir. i watched you this morning on msnbc "early today." you were excellent. that's why i wanted to get you back tonight. most of us grew up like i did in my age, grew up hiding under
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school desks. >> duck and cover. >> it was for real. nuns had us hide, and made sure we were ready for that. now it seems we have to be ready on not an attack from moscow but an attack from some group that gets ahold of a nuclear weapon. tell me, how real is that prospect over the next 20 years? >> most experts believe if we just keep doing what we're doing, this is going to happen. one of the capitals remitted is going to disappear in a mushroom cloud. it's just a matter of time. al qaeda has declared it the sacred duty of its followers to obtain a nuclear weapon. >> where are they shopping? >> women, one of the places they're shopping is pakistan, right before 9/11 osama bin laden had a meeting with several nuclear scientists to get a briefing on nuclear weapons technology. for my money, that's the most dangerous country in the world. bin laden is 60 kilometers away from nuclear weapon material.
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if something happens to our government, if it destabilizes, he's going to make a run for those weapons. >> could he get a hold of a weapon and launch it or would he carry it by some other means and blow it up there. >> not launch. terrorists don't have weapons or planes, they do have trucks. you put it in one of the 16 million container that's come into u.s. ports every day. put it in a fedex box. >> what ignites it? >> there's no shortage of -- >> how do you detonate a nuclear weapon? >> there's a fuse and/or timers to do it. we have very secure fuses that would be very difficult to break. the russians too. but lots of countries, india, pakistan, don't have those kinds of sophisticated mechanisms. >> so as you said this morning, for everybody watching for the first time, once you get ahold of a nuclear weapon, have you to get it from a country. people don't build nuclear weapons. >> terrorists can't build them
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from scratch. >> why don't they put a market on ebay -- >> it has not happened yet. >> have the soviets been better than that and the republics, have they been better at harbors and keeping that stuff away from the marks? >> this has been a bipartisan effort. under bush one, clinton, bush two, we've been securing the materials, 60% of the materials in the soviet republic secured. we don't have the rest of it secured. that's the purpose of the summit. this should be a completely nonpartisan agenda. what's different is obama is raising it to a high profile issue, accelerating the time schedule. let's get it done in four years. >> what good will the summit accomplish. israel didn't come, south africa is there, other countries are there. pakistan's not there. right? >> no, pakistan is there. >> are they going to get something done with the
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pakistanis? >> we secured about seven reactors a year that use highly enriched uranium. did a deal in chile, we have commitments from ukraine today. but we're -- there's 100 such research facilities. you've got to get the individuals -- some of these countries don't believe the threat is this serious. some of them don't want to spend the money to secure the materials. you've got to get them all to step up. what i'm looking for is individual commitments an action plan and a commitment to come back, say, in two years and hold the group accountable. are they doing what they said they were going to do. >> does the president's effort to reduce arms by reducing weapons, the new s.t.a.r.t. talks, does help? >> there's a strong correlation between what the big guys are doing with their weapons -- >> some people are cynical. what's the connection? >> the case in the '60s, some people think this is the way the
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trend is going. when you see the nuclear powers get serious about disarmament, you see countries giving up their weapons -- >> where are are you on an israeli attack on iran? would we have to support something like that? >> i'm with bob gates, the secretary of defense, that at most this would buy us a year, year and a half, and what admiral mullins says, unintended consequences. we don't need a third war in the middle east. the beginning of a warks not the end of one. >> very impressive. thank you. i need people like you around. when we return, thoughts about sarah palin and the latest headline, quote, she's no dummy. [ female announcer ] new purefitness...
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